English Wig Maker Startin' Somethin' Over Queens Jacko Costumes

By Jennifer Millman
|  Tuesday, Aug 25, 2009  |  Updated 10:45 AM EDT
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Michael Jackson's Stuff on the Auction Block

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There's gonna be a lot of Jackos out there this Halloween.

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It don't matter if they're black or white: An English wig maker wants a Queens company to scrap plans to sell Michael Jackson costumes.

Century-old Smiffy's filed a lawsuit against Rubie's Costume Co. in Manhattan Federal Court yesterday, arguing it owns the global rights to peddle Jacko costumes, according to a published report.

Smiffy's, which started as a shop to make fake wigs for uptight English judges, has added King of Pop costumes to its repertoire. The company's one-gloved "Billie Jean" costume and the "Bad" costume with a long black wig are among its top sellers.

The well-known wig maker complains Rubie's has already cost it half a million dollars in orders by making fake marketing calls to prospective customers, reports the Daily News.

But that's just not true, Rubie's retorts.

The Queens shop says the lawsuit is bogus, and that they acquired the rights to sell MJ costumes from a company based in California, according to the News.

"Rubie's officially is the worldwide licensee for Michael Jackson costumes and accessories," Rubie's Vice President Howard Beige wrote in an e-mail last week, according to the lawsuit, reports the News.

The Richmond Hill company already has the rights to sell Elvis Presley outfits, and believes MJ threatens to beat "The King" in costume sales, reports the News.

"He's going to be an iconic figure, like Elvis and Marilyn Monroe who will be a perennial seller," Beige told the paper. 

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